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Looking to get first pair of binoculars for backyard skywatching

beginner binoculars
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#1 debrent

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:14 PM

Hi All,

I am currently saving for my first telescope which will be a large aperture dob on a computerized mount.  While I am doing that I thought it might be fun to pick up some relatively inexpensive binoculars to begin wandering around the night sky.

 

Of course the first thing I looked at were a big pair of Celestron 25x100 Skywatchers but after reading many tales of woe and a lot of bad reviews I am no longer considering those.  Many seem to recommend something in the 10x50-12x50 range and I have been eyeing a pair of Nikon Action Extreme 12x50s on Amazon for a few days now.

 

One thing I should mention is that hand-held observing is not an option for me as I have "essential tremor" which is a condition that basically causes my hands to shake under any significant load.  So I will absolutely have to use a tripod for any size binocular.  This is the primary reason I'm considering the 12's over the 10's, not that I expect a lot of difference.

The binoculars I currently own are a cheap pair of 7x35s that I inherited from my parents and they are badly out of collimation (double image) and basically unusable.  So any reasonably good instrument will be a vast improvement.  Any input is appreciated and I don't pretend to know anything about this as I am totally new to astronomy in all it's forms.

 

BTW, if it matters according to lightpollutionmap.info, I live on the edge of a Bortle class 5 zone with pretty easy access (10-15min) to Bortle class 4 skies.

 

Thanks,

Don


Edited by debrent, 21 November 2020 - 12:35 PM.


#2 MarMax

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:23 PM

Right now West Marine is selling their Coastal binoculars for 40% off. I've had a pair of 8x50's for about six years now and love them. I just bought a pair of 7x50's with the current sale.

 

I know you were asking about bigger binos but having a quality 7x50 is very handy all around.


Edited by MarMax, 21 November 2020 - 12:25 PM.

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#3 sg6

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:28 PM

Just get 8x42's.

Forget those larger numbers they do not help at all.

Many people will search out 6x if they can.

If you need a tripod them maybe think of a spotting scope with a nice low power eyepiece/option. But best advice is 8x42's are they most popular in general use. And they have become the most popular for a reason. But avoid anything that has nice shiny attractive large numbers and values.


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#4 lee14

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:34 PM

If hand held viewing is a challenge, you will find that anything above 7 x 50's exacerbates the problem. I use 10 x 50's, and they're noticeably more challenging than the 7 x 50's I had when I was younger. The difference in magnification is of minor significance for astronomy, and the likely wider FOV of the 7's more than makes up for it.

A basic parallelogram mount can make a huge difference in obtaining steady views, and one that will support basic 7 x 50's is pretty affordable.

 

Lee



#5 debrent

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:51 PM

If hand held viewing is a challenge, you will find that anything above 7 x 50's exacerbates the problem. I use 10 x 50's, and they're noticeably more challenging than the 7 x 50's I had when I was younger. The difference in magnification is of minor significance for astronomy, and the likely wider FOV of the 7's more than makes up for it.

A basic parallelogram mount can make a huge difference in obtaining steady views, and one that will support basic 7 x 50's is pretty affordable.

 

Lee

It's not just a challenge, it's impossible.  I will not be handholding ANY binoculars I buy, no matter the magnification.

 

I should also note that I already own a good solid Manfrotto tripod I will be using for the mount.


Edited by debrent, 21 November 2020 - 12:59 PM.

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#6 Paul Skee

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 01:26 PM

I bought these:

https://www.telescop...60/p/130268.uts

and this:

https://www.telescop...ipod/p/5379.uts

You can get the mount w/o the tripod, it'll probably attach to your Manfrotto w/o any fuss.

I love the views, clear, wide, contrast. And the mount seems to handle them well, smooth and stable.



#7 Mark9473

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 01:33 PM

https://oberwerk.com...15x70mm-deluxe/


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#8 edwincjones

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 01:43 PM

if you plan to use a tripod, then I would suggest 70 mm binoculars

or

maybe IS binoculars for hand holding with a tremor 

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 21 November 2020 - 01:43 PM.

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#9 planet earth

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 02:19 PM

How about a short richest field refractor?



#10 hallelujah

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 02:26 PM

 

 

 

I have been eyeing a pair of Nikon Action Extreme 12x50s on Amazon for a few days now.

 

 

Thanks,

Don

Excellent choice. waytogo.gif

 

Stan
 


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#11 j.gardavsky

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 02:29 PM

Hello Don,

 

if you are willing to spend about $400, then the Oberwerk 15x70 Ultra (Kunming Optical BA8 series) are a very good choice, both on the quality of optics, and on the comfortable viewing.

https://oberwerk.com...ries-10-5x70mm/

 

With the L-adapter

https://oberwerk.com...ipod-l-adapter/

you can mount them on any tripod.

 

I have their little brother, the 10.5x70, and their bigger brother the 15x85.

They both are my mostly used binoculars,

gallery_316833_12015_120823.jpg

 

Best,

JG


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#12 alder1

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 03:56 PM

I have a pair of Orion UltraView 10x50 Wide Angle Binoculars that I’ve used, primarily on a tripod, for many years now. I like them very much and the cost is reasonable.

#13 litesong

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 06:04 PM

Starting out, get collimated wide-angle 10x50mm binoculars on the used market. Make sure the binocular bridge is unwobbly Save some money now, because you’ll be paying lots for other astro gear. The cheap 10x50’s will guide you to celestial objects, as well as more significant astro gear you need.



#14 sevenofnine

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 07:01 PM

Your choice of Nikon AE 12x50 on a tripod is a good one. I recently bought the 10x50 version and am very happy with them. I've found that mounting them on a light weight tripod and using them from a seated position gives very stable views. Just rock the tripod back on two legs to reach a higher angle. Good luck with your choice.



#15 gwlee

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 01:11 AM

A wide field of view is one of the great benefits of a binocular. Another is great portability. You will get neither with a 25x100. It’s more like a binocular telescope than a binocular. 

 

For more of a binocular experience, a tripod mounted 10x50 binocular will give you a rock steady 6.5* field of view,

 and with as much portability as you can get with any instrument on a tripod. 


Edited by gwlee, 22 November 2020 - 01:14 AM.

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#16 ihf

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 11:06 AM

Take your Manfrotto tripod and mount the 7x35. Use one eye. Try to use it, especially point it up and see if it is comfortable after a few minutes. Neck strain and vibrations. If yes, then get the 12x50. If not, then rethink your approach.



#17 StillLearning

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 11:10 AM

I had a thread on finding some cheap binos just to play around with and was directed to simmons pro sports 10x50 from Wall Mart. $31. I love these binos and have nothing bad to say about them!

#18 jcj380

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 12:29 PM

I dumped my SkyMaster 15x70s for several reasons and I have a pair of 10x50 Nikons, but I really preferred the view in the 15x70s.  I have something akin to essential tremor myself and using a tilt/pan head on my Manfrotto adjustable height center column tripod worked well.  I could handhold them to some extent also.  If Santa is kind this year, I'll likely get another brand of 15x70s.

 

You might also want to check some of the other European brands like Bresser Spezials, Helios, etc.



#19 Nate1701

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:53 PM

Excellent choice. waytogo.gif

 

Stan
 

i second the AE 12x50 or a pentax WPSP 12x50.

 

For "relatively inexpensive" you are on the right track IMHO. 10x50 will be a bit wider - but since you are mounting - go with the 12x and get a bit more detail.

Approx. 5 degrees is plenty for me anyway. They are light, easy to mount in various ways, easy to pack, easy to travel, and will give a lifetime of enjoyment.

Once you get your Dob - setting up a 70mm or 100mm on a P-gram might not have as much appeal. Besides... sounds like would rather put the money toward the Dob than premium 70mm or larger binos and expensive P-gram right?

 

all the best,

Nate


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#20 HouseBuilder328

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 05:59 PM

Hello Don,

 

if you are willing to spend about $400, then the Oberwerk 15x70 Ultra (Kunming Optical BA8 series) are a very good choice, both on the quality of optics, and on the comfortable viewing.

https://oberwerk.com...ries-10-5x70mm/

 

With the L-adapter

https://oberwerk.com...ipod-l-adapter/

you can mount them on any tripod.

 

I have their little brother, the 10.5x70, and their bigger brother the 15x85.

They both are my mostly used binoculars,

attachicon.gifgallery_316833_12015_120823.jpg

 

Best,

JG

JG, wow, those Oberwerk 15x70 Ultras look amazing, but a little pricey!   How would you compare these Ultras to the LW and Deluxe series of the 15x70? 


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#21 j.gardavsky

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 07:49 AM

JG, wow, those Oberwerk 15x70 Ultras look amazing, but a little pricey!   How would you compare these Ultras to the LW and Deluxe series of the 15x70? 

I don't have any comparison with my hands on and eyes on. On the practical side, the Ultras are more rugged with some protection against the G-shock.

 

The best way would be to ask at Oberwerk,

JG



#22 Voyager 3

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:07 AM

I don't have any comparison with my hands on and eyes on. On the practical side, the Ultras are more rugged with some protection against the G-shock.

 

The best way would be to ask at Oberwerk,

JG

Do the ultras have filter threads JG ? 



#23 j.gardavsky

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:21 PM

Do the ultras have filter threads JG ? 

I have the TS version of the 10.5x70 Ultras, they don't have the filter threads, but I can fasten the filters with inserted rubber eyeguards.

The best way ist to clarify it with Oberwerk.

Should the Oberwerk Ultras have no filter threads, then ask them to deliver the rubber eyeguards as shown in the pic. Don't hesitate to use this pic to explain to Oberwerk what it is about with mounting the filters.

 

Best,

JGgallery_316833_12015_181372.jpg


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#24 barbie

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 02:14 PM

I have a set of Oberwerk 12x60Lw and use them handheld. They are excellent.


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#25 debrent

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 08:50 PM

Besides... sounds like would rather put the money toward the Dob than premium 70mm or larger binos and expensive P-gram right?


Definitely right. I'm not looking for premium at this time. Just something to get started with. But not interested in bargain basement either.


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